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If football games were only played in three quarters, Carroll would have come out ahead, 7-3, in their Friday night match-up with district rival Walton-Verona. Instead, a disastrous second quarter proved too much to recover from as the Bearcats beat the Panthers 27-7 at Panther field.
“We couldn’t run the ball effectively. I think that’s probably what hurt us offensively,” head coach Mike Weedman said. “But the big plays is what I think broke our back tonight. But I’m really proud of the young men, really proud of the players because they fought all the way through.”
Both defenses played well, as Carroll was held to 230 total yards (161 rushing, 69 passing) and Walton-Verona to 265 total yards (190 rushing, 75 passing). But the Bearcats scoring blitz was the story of the game. The visitors scored 17 points in roughly three-and-a-half minutes to end the first half, a margin that proved too much to overcome.
“They made two or three big plays, and I think that’s the difference in the game,” Weedman said. “But (I’m) really proud of our guys, proud of our defense. You take those big plays away and the defense did really good tonight.”
The night started out well for the Panthers. The team took the opening kickoff from its own 35-yard line and marched the ball straight down the field on the backs of the three-headed running attack of senior running back Tyshaun Embs, junior running back Blake Newby and junior quarterback John Michael Adams. Adams punched it in on fourth and goal from inside the 1-yard line, and senior Tim Corley tacked on the extra point to give Carroll its only lead of the game, 7-0.
On Walton-Verona’s second offensive play from scrimmage, senior Casey Breeden knocked the ball loose from sophomore William Latimore, and Carroll senior Cameron Smith recovered the fumble.
The Panthers took over on the Bearcats’ 45-yard line, but returned the favor six plays later as quarterback/defensive back Logan Foley intercepted Adams’ pass on fourth down. The Bearcats converted the turnover into a 2-yard rushing touchdown by junior Chris Latimore, tying the game early in the second quarter.
Three straight punting drives later, and Walton-Verona had the ball back with 3:27 to go in the half on their own 40-yard line. Less than a minute later, Foley was standing in the end zone after sprinting straight up the middle of the field for a 19-yard touchdown, giving the Bearcats the lead.
The Panthers went three-and-out on their next drive, and the Bearcats took two timeouts to keep 1:30 left on the clock. It took just one play and Walton-Verona was back in paydirt. William Latimore ran a sweep and sprinted 61 yards for the score, 21-7.
Carroll tried to move the ball quickly down the field for a score before halftime, and things started well as Adams hit Newby for an 11-yard completion. However, the Panthers were hit with an illegal procedure penalty as they tried to spike the ball to stop the clock. On first and 15, William Latimore picked off a pass intended for Embs with 39 seconds remaining.
Cory Bennett hit a 45-yard field goal as time expired to give Walton-Verona the 24-7 lead at halftime.
At halftime, Weedman said he told players they needed to come out and get a defensive stop. The defense responded, forcing three straight three-and-outs. The Panther D would have had a fourth, but was called for encroachment on fourth down, resulting in a Walton-Verona first down. The Bearcats took full advantage of the penalty and Bennett kicked a 35-yard field goal with 6:53 remaining in the fourth quarter for the final points of the game.
“It’s a loss, and we really wanted to beat those guys,” Weedman said. “But I couldn’t be more proud of a group of young men for continuing to fight because I’ve seen teams give up before when the going was tough and they never quit, and I was really proud of the way they responded in the second half.”
The Bearcats defense keyed on leading rusher Embs, and Weedman said he thought Newby and senior Dillon Craig both stepped up and did a good job. “I don’t think they did anything different than we expected,” he said. “They got pressure on us and that gave us some trouble. They held true to what they do, and they’re good for what they do.”
Weedman praised juniors Will Wallace and Keifer McIntyre for their consistent play. “Will Wallace has been outstanding at middle linebacker and Keifer McIntyre, he is very key,” he said. “Keifer never gets enough credit for what he does, Will either. Those guys deserve a lot of credit because they’re solid, they’re solid players and they do things right. They’re a big part of what we do.”
Wallace made 10 tackles, four solo and six assisted, while McIntyre had one solo tackle, five assisted tackles and one tackle for loss.
Weedman also credited junior Josh Gibbs for being able to get penetration on Walton-Verona’s offensive line, while assistant coach J.P. Dale said Breeden played three different defensive positions and he “played his butt off.” Breeden finished the game with one solo tackle, five assisted tackle, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Despite throwing two interceptions, Weedman said he thought Adams did a good job against the Bearcats, especially coming off an injury the previous week. “I thought, overall, he played well, especially in that first drive,” he said. “He had a couple huge runs and showed a lot of guts. I’m very proud of John Michael.”
The Panthers (4-2) hit the road this Friday, taking on another district rival, Gallatin County (5-1).
Carroll, 12; Walton-Verona, 7
Carroll, 7/95 yards; Walton-Verona, 3/15 yards
Carroll, 39/161 yards; Walton-Verona, 37/190 yards
Carroll, 6-16 for 69 yards, 2 INT; Walton-Verona, 3-6 for 75 yards
Tyshaun Embs: 18/91 yards
John Michael Adams: 13/34 yards, TD
Blake Newby: 7/38 yards
Dillon Craig: 1/0 yards
John Michael Adams: 6-16, 69 yards, 2 INT
Dillon Craig, 2/26 yards
Blake Newby, 2/24 yards
Tyshaun Embs, 2/18 yards
Logan Foley: 3-6, 75 yards
William Latimore, 5/40 yards, 2 TD
Chris Latimore, 9/25 yards, TD
Logan Foley: 15/99 yards
Cory Bennett: 1/1 yard
Mason Compton: 7/23 yards
William Latimore: 3/75 yards
Blake Newby, 4 solo, 2 asst, 1 TFL, 1 pass break up
Zach Birch, 4 solo, 6 asst, 1 pass break up
Dillon Craig, 3 solo
Cameron Smith, 2 solo, 2 asst, 1 fumble recovery
Matt Bartley, 2 solo, 3 asst
Will Wallace, 4 solo, 6 asst
Cameron Rose, 1 solo
Casey Breeden, 1 solo, 5 asst, 2 TFL, 1 forced fumble
Tae Mumphrey, 1 asst
Keifer McIntyre, 1 solo, 5 asst, 1 TFL
Ryan Davidson, 1 solo, 1 asst
Caleb Guenthner, 1 solo
Josh Gibbs, 2 solo, 2 asst
Joe Gibbs, 1 asst
Zach McBurney, 1 solo, 1 asst, 1 TFL
Simon Guo, 1 asst